In a joint announcement today, the parties to Kasky v. Nike, a lawsuit which prompted a U.S. Supreme Court review exploring the question of what constitutes free versus commercial speech, have agreed to settle the case. The two parties mutually agreed that investments designed to strengthen workplace monitoring and factory worker programs are more desirable than prolonged litigation. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990818/NIKELOGO ) As part of the settlement, Nike has agreed to make additional workplace-related program investments (augmenting the company’s existing expenditures on monitoring, etc.) totaling $1.5 million. Nike’s contribution will go to the Washington D.C. based Fair Labor Association (FLA) for program operations and worker development programs focused on education and economic opportunity.
In addressing the settlement terms, Patrick Coughlin, attorney for the plaintiff stated, „Ultimately, both Nike and Mr. Kasky agreed that this resolution benefits two key groups: factory workers and consumers worldwide. Given the FLA’s collaboration across a wide spectrum of companies, universities and NGOs, it is an excellent vehicle for Nike to further develop its corporate responsibility efforts and allow interested consumers to measure the performance of Nike and other companies through public reporting. Mr. Kasky is satisfied that this settlement reflects Nike’s commitment to positive change where factory workers are concerned.“
Over the next three years, the funds will specifically address three primary areas: — Increased training and local capacity building to improve the quality of independent monitoring in manufacturing countries; — Worker development programs focused on education and economic opportunity, and; — Multi-sector collaboration to advance a common global standard to measure and report on corporate responsibility performance among companies. Nike also agreed to maintain its existing funding commitment to its after-hours worker education programs in its footwear facilities and micro-loan programs at a minimum of $500,000 over the next two years. Incorporated in 1999 out of the White House task force known as the Apparel Industry Partnership, the FLA promotes adherence to its code of conduct based on international labor standards, conducts independent monitoring of labor practices in supplier factories by accredited monitors and coordinates public reporting of the findings.